BenQ X1300i review: A bright 1080p gaming projector with 120Hz refresh rate

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Techaeris Rated 8.9/10

When it comes to gaming, projectors have been hit and miss. Typically speaking, they don’t offer the same refresh rates or fast response times as their TV or monitor counterparts. That is changing, though, and there are a few options for gamers when it comes to projectors.

Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

Our BenQ X1300i review looks at a 1080p DLP projector that offers up game modes with up to 120Hz refresh rate and response times as low as 8ms. Read on for our full review!

Specifications

The BenQ X1300i gaming projector we reviewed has the following features and specifications:

Projection systemDLP
DMD size0.65″
Product features4LED, 98% Rec709, Low input lag, Game mode, HDR-compatible, treVolo speaker, 2D keystone, 1.2x Zoom, ATV dongle
Native resolution1080p (1920 x 1080)
Native aspect ratio16:9
Brightness (ANSI lumens)3000
Contrast ratio (FOFO)500,000:1 (with Lightsource Dimming)
Selectable aspect ratio16:9, 4:3, Auto
Display color30-bit (1.07 billion colors)
Light source4LED
Light source life20,000 hours (Normal and SmartEco), 30,000 hours (ECO)
Throw ratio1.3 ~ 1.56
Zoom ratio1.2x
LensF/# = 1.6 – 1.75 mm, f = 19.16 – 23.02 mm
Projection offset (full-height)91%
Keystone adjustment2D, (Auto) Vertical ± 30 degrees; Horizontal ± 30 degrees
ANSI uniformity (min.)-45%
Clear image size 60″ ~ 150″
Image size30″ ~ 300″
Picture modes3D, Bright, Cinema, Game, HDR Game, HDR10, HLG, Living Room, Sports, User
Colour wheel segment (SSI)RGBB
Rec. 709 coverage98%
Input lag(Fast Mode),16 ms (4K@60Hz) *downscaling to 1080p, 8 ms (1080p@120Hz)
Resolution supportVGA (640 x 480) to 4K UHD (3840 x 2160)
Horizontal frequency15K ~ 135KHz
Vertical scan rate23 ~ 120Hz
HDTV compatibility1080i, 1080p, 2160p, 480i, 480p, 576i, 576p, 720p
3D compatibilityFrame sequential
Ports3x HDMI (2.0b/HDCP2.2)
1x USB Type-A (2.0 Power Supply, 2.5A Service)
1x RS232 In
1x DC 12V Trigger
1x SPDIF
1x 3.5mm jack
Speaker2x 5W chamber
Power supplyAC 100 to 240 V, 50/60 Hz
Typical power consumption330W
Stand-by power consumption<0.5W
Acoustic noise (Typ/Eco) 31/27 dB
Operating temperature0 ~ 40°C
Android TV dongleQS01 (Standard)
Remote control w/ batteryRC1068
Power cord1.8m
3D glassesDGD5 (Optional)
Lens coverIncluded
Ceiling mountCMG3 (optional)
Dimensions10.7 x 7.8 x 10.2″ (272 x 207.1 x 259.4mm)
Weight14.1 lbs (6.4kg)

What’s in the box

  • BenQ X1300i Gaming Projector
  • BenQ QS01 Android TV dongle
  • Remote control
  • 2x AAA batteries
  • Quick Start Guide
What's included with the BenQ X1300i 1080p Gaming Projector
What’s included with the BenQ X1300i 1080p Gaming Projector.

Design

When it comes to the design of the BenQ X1300i, you’ll notice it is remarkably different than the company’s other offerings. This is because the design of the X1300i is based on its optical engine, which is bigger and taller than other mainstream home lamp-base BenQ projectors. Because of the taller height of X1300i, BenQ didn’t want X1300i to be heavier than others, so it was designed in a cube-like form factor.

At any rate, the X1300i is just under10 3/4-inches in width, just over 10-inches in depth, and just over 7 3/4″ in height. Largely white in colour (including the power cable), the front of the projector is black with an orange stripe around it for just a bit of added colour. The lens is located in the upper left quadrant when looking at the projector. When plugged in, a power LED is visible in the upper right. When in standby mode, the word “power” is orange. Once you power on the projector, the word changes to green. The BenQ logo is printed in grey on the lower right corner.

Both sides of the projector have vents for cooling. The left side (again, while looking at the front) is where you’ll find the zoom and focus rings, as well as physical menu buttons. These include power and source above the navigation ring. The back, menu, and eco buttons sit below the navigation ring.

The buttons on the left side of the BenQ X1300i 1080p Gaming Projector
The buttons on the left side of the BenQ X1300i 1080p Gaming Projector.

Almost all the ports are on the back, across the top. These include two HDMI 2.0b ports with HDCP 2.2, a DC trigger port, USB-A port, SPDIF audio out, an RS232 port, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Below these ports is the speaker grille. In the bottom right corner is a lock slot with the standard power adapter port slightly offset from the center of the projector.

The top of the projector is smooth but does slide off. This is where you’ll find the last HDMI port and a Micro-USB cable which is where you install the included QS01 dongle. The stick itself is fairly compact, roughly 3 1/2-inches long, 1 1/4-inches wide, and about 1/2-inch thick. On one of the short ends is an HDMI connector. A Micro-USB port for power is located on the side of one of the long edges.

Unlike the TK850i/HT3550i, the company’s first projectors with the Android TV dongle and two remotes, this model only has one simplified remote. The remote has a microphone at the top. Beneath this are six buttons: Power, Dynamic Stereo Enhancement, Picture Mode, Cast, Source, and Prime Video. A typical round navigation disc with an OK button in the middle is below those. Six more buttons are below the disc and let you go back to the previous item, back to the Android TV home screen, access the Android TV settings menu, mute, voice search, and finally, open the projector menu. Last but not least is a stacked volume control button for raising or lowering the volume. The remote itself is fairly slim, about 6-inches by 1 3/4-inches, by just over 1/2-inch thick. It is powered by two AAA batteries which are inserted in the back of the remote.

Finally, the bottom of the projector has two adjustable feet at the front, a non-adjustable strip at the back, and three holes if you wish to ceiling mount it.

I didn’t mind the cube-shaped design of the X1300i gaming projector, but a couple of people I’ve shown it to and talked to weren’t huge fans of it. Of course, where you will be setting it up might influence your thoughts on the design.

Setup/Ease of Use

To use the Android TV and streaming functionality, you’ll have to install the streaming stick inside the projector’s top panel. A removable sticker on the top of the projector outlines the steps. There is a single screw on either side of the panel, which you’ll have to loosen. Once you’ve done so, pull the panel forward — not up — and plug the Micro-USB into the streaming stick. Once done, plug the stick into the HDMI port and replace the panel. Alternatively, if you have a USB-A to Micro-USB cable, you could install the dongle to one of the rear HDMI ports using the USB-A 5A port also located on the back of the projector.

The Android TV dongle inserted into the top of the BenQ X1300i 1080p Gaming Projector
The Android TV dongle inserted into the top of the BenQ X1300i 1080p Gaming Projector.

Once you’ve powered the projector on, you’ll be prompted to pair the Android TV remote with the dongle. This is accomplished by pressing the OK button on the remote for about three seconds. Once paired, you’ll see a success message on the screen. Next, you’ll be asked if you want to use your Android phone to set up your device. Go into your Google app and search “set up my device.” In my case, my phone then displayed a code that matched the one that appeared on the projector screen. Press next on your phone, select the Wi-Fi network that appears (if correct), then copy your Google account and settings to the projector. Rather, more accurately, the Android TV dongle.

Once copied, you’ll be prompted to continue set up on the projector. Accept the terms, allow (or disallow) location access, allow/disallow the sending of diagnostic information, set up voice control, enable/disable personal results, sign up for Google Assistant emails, choose or create a name for the projector, and choose which apps to install. I was given the usual, including Spotify, Twitter, Plex, a couple of games, and Google Duo. Google suggested YouTube for Android TV, while BenQ suggested Disney+. Finally, you’ll have to accept the BenQ terms of service.

All said and done, the setup took about 10 minutes, which included the actual installation of the dongle itself.

Display

I have to admit, 4K projectors have spoiled me. As a result, the lack of clarity on the BenQ X1300i Gaming Projector was apparent as soon as the image appeared on my 106″ screen. Sure, I could adjust the focus, but the sweet spot is pretty hard to get with the lower resolution. The lower clarity was more noticeable in menus and not as much while watching videos and playing games.

With 98% Rec. 709 coverage, colours are pretty decent, and the projector is pretty bright at 3000 lumens. There are various picture modes as well, depending on what you are doing. These modes include Bright, Living Room, Game, Sports, Cinema, and User. You can also adjust the brightness, contrast, sharpness, gamma, colour temperature, HDR brightness, and noise reduction. Overall, I found the Cinema setting good for watching TV and movies, while the Game setting worked great for gaming (more on that below).

Software

The BenQ TK850i QS01 dongle runs Android TV, currently version 9. If you’ve used Android TV (not the newer Google TV interface found on the new Chromecast), this will be familiar to you. If not, it’s pretty straightforward. A recent update made it look a bit more like the new interface, offering a more integrated view that mixes content regardless of what streaming service it resides in. The top row is your apps, with a link to the Play Store to install more apps of your choosing. Below this is a Featured by Google Play row, YouTube Recommended, and in my case, YouTube Music, Plex, and Prime Video. Of course, you can customize the order and what appears in these rows based on what you have installed.

In the upper right corner are a settings cog and the time. The settings allow you to access and adjust network settings, accounts, apps, device preferences, remotes and other Bluetooth accessories, and projector settings. You can also easily use the voice search button to invoke Google Assistant and ask to search for a specific movie or show, or launch an app. Other Google Assistant functions like asking for the weather, controlling your smart devices, and more are also available.

The remote included with the BenQ X1300i 1080p Gaming Projector
The remote included with the BenQ X1300i 1080p Gaming Projector.

While I can access most of the streaming services like Amazon Prime, Spotify, and Disney+ from the Google TV Apps, Netflix is one that is unsupported. Netflix does run a stringent certification process, and these aren’t the first projectors I’ve run across that don’t natively support the app. The only way to be able to watch Netflix on this projector is to connect to a laptop or through your console. As this is a gaming projector, if you are using it with an Xbox or PlayStation, you should be able to install and use Netflix on that.

From Amazon Prime, Disney+, and Plex, I had no issues streaming on the BenQ X1300i through the included dongle.

Performance

The BenQ X1300i Gaming Projector features what the company calls GameMaestro. When accessed, you can turn Game Mode on or off, choose FPS, RPG, or SPG (sports), adjust details (low/high/off), or toggle Fast mode. When Fast mode is enabled, the projector’s response time lowers to 16ms for 4K/60Hz or 8ms for 10800p/120Hz input.

Once hooked up to my Xbox Series X, I set the output to 1080p/120Hz. Up until now, I’ve been playing at 4K/60Hz, and to be honest, I’ve never really had any issues with that. I fired up Call of Duty: Warzone, and I have to admit, the gameplay did seem smoother and slightly more responsive. I toggled the Series X back to 4K/60Hz output and played again, and the difference was definitely there. That being said, the faster refresh rate and lower response time didn’t really make me any better, but the extra smoothness was nice.

One thing I will note. When connected to my Xbox Series X, I actually had to disable 4K output as an option altogether if I wanted the 120Hz refresh rate. Even with the Series X display set to 1080p and 120Hz, some games like Call of Duty: Warzone still detected a 2160p (4K) output and defaulted to a 60Hz refresh rate. Disabling 4K altogether fixed the issue. Another issue I encountered is that when playing in 1080p/120Hz mode, HDR was disabled altogether. In other words, you have to choose if you want HDR or a higher refresh rate.

Sound Quality

I’ve never been a fan of speakers in monitors or projectors, but they are getting better. The BenQ X1300i has two 5W speakers, tuned by treVolo. In addition, Bongiovi DPS technology further enhances the onboard audio.

“New for the X1300i, Bongiovi DPS technology uses a patented algorithm with 120 calibration points for real-time audio signal optimization. Expect added depth, clarity, definition, presence, and enhanced stereo field imaging in real time. Bongiovi DPS also offers Dynamic Stereo Enhancement to generate reactive surround sound for different listening needs. Bongiovi DPS breathes life into video games, apps, music, and movies through the X1300i’s onboard speakers, external speakers, or headphones.”

BenQ X1300i product page

On that note, the audio was decent enough for a projector, and the Dynamic Stereo Enhancement did make a bit of a difference. There are pre-tuned settings, including Cinema, Music, Game, Sports, and User. You’ll still likely want to connect the projector to a proper sound system or use a headset while gaming, but the speakers here were just fine in a pinch. Even better? If you have a decent Bluetooth speaker, you can pair it to the projector for better audio.

Price/Value

The BenQ X1300i Gaming Projector is currently available from Amazon, the BenQ website, and other retailers for US$1299. Given the price of other projectors on the market, it is pretty reasonably priced. Sure, it is a 1080p projector, and you can get a 4K projector for a couple of hundred dollars more, but you’ll be missing out on the lower refresh rate and response time.

Wrap-up

If you’re a gamer looking to go bigger without sacrificing refresh rate and response time, the BenQ X1300i Gaming Projector gives you both. That being said, 1080p resolution on a larger screen isn’t as crisp as you might be used to, so you’ll want to keep that in mind.

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Last Updated on August 22, 2021.

BenQ X1300i

US$1299

Design

9.0/10

Display

8.5/10

Setup/Ease of Use

9.0/10

Software

9.0/10

Performance

9.5/10

Sound Quality

8.5/10

Price/Value

9.0/10

Nailed it

  • Decent picture quality with 98% Rec 709 coverage
  • Various picture and sound modes
  • 3000 lumens of brightness
  • Fast refresh rate and low latency for gaming
  • Can pair Bluetooth speaker for better sound
  • Reasonably priced

Needs work

  • No native Netflix support
  • Only 1080p output
  • No HDR on 1080p/120Hz
  • Some games still default to 4K when console set to 1080p
  • Requires a dongle for Android TV support
  • Cube design not for everyone
BenQ X1300i 1080p Gaming Projector
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